Sound & Music

From the sonic research and acoustic studies in our School of Communication, to sound design in the School of Interactive Arts and Technology, and music composition in the School for the Contemporary Arts, our faculty offers a broad range of programs and courses related to sound and music.

Selected programs

The programs below are a sample of the many offerings across our faculty. 

Bachelor of Arts — Communication Major 

A major in communication offers many opportunities to study sound and the way it contributes to how we interact. Our School of Communication has a long-standing history of sound-based instruction and pedagogy. SFU’s Sonic Research Studio was established in the late 1960s by Canadian composer and foundational sound studies researcher R.M. Schafer to pursue soundscape research through the World Soundscape Project. Today, the Studio contains a wealth of archival materials in soundscape studies and acoustic ecology, as well as cutting edge research in listening pedagogies, soundscape composition, sonification for social change, and various cultural studies of sound.

Bachelor of Fine Arts — Music Major

Renowned for its innovative and experimental approach to music through its focus on composition, our music major program offers a unique, interdisciplinary experience and the opportunity to collaborate on film, dance, theatre, and visual art projects during the course of your degree. The program offers a balance between acoustic and electroacoustic music, insight into music past and future, and opportunities for performing both European and non-Western music.

Selected courses

The courses below are just a few of the many offerings related to art and design across our faculty.

CMNS 258 — History of Sound in Media

This introductory course offers an overview of audio representation technology and a survey of the history of major sound-based media. Students analyze sound in media and create audio-based applied projects using the Sonic Research Studio facilities and techniques of field recording, interviewing, editing, sound processing, multi-tracking, and basic digital audio composition.

CMNS 321 — Cultural Production of Popular Music

Examining the way that popular music is produced, this course emphasizes the relationship between the nature, strategies, and cultural influences of popular music production and the consumption patterns of its audience.

CA 386 — Film Music: An Overview of the Relationship between Music and Moving Pictures

This course examines the role of music in the viewer's experience of moving pictures. Beginning with the early 1900s, students are introduced to important composers, directors, films, genres and historical periods.

IAT 340 — Sound Design

An introduction to the theory and practice of sound design, this course explores sound's relationship to moving images, installation, performance, video games, user interfaces and websites. Students are exposed to audio production, post-production, mixing and mastering, beginning programming for digital signal processing, sound synthesis and sound interaction.